An Indian cloth trader's harrowing, 900 km walk home amid coronavirus lockdown

Source: Quartz - View Original Article
Published: Apr 29, 2020
Category:
Bias Rating:

88% Liberal


Bias Score Calculation:


Policies:

Welfare

Sentiments

99% "There were some kind people in villages and towns who distributed packed food and water to the travellers.""
97% "Around 10 days later, he finally reached the boundaries of his village.""
95% "His family would cry each time he called.""
88% "They owned no land and received no government assistance.""
85% "The occasional hand pump or public tap would see interminable lines.""
83% "Shamim had barely Rs500 in his wallet.""
82% "Shamim is now 30 years old.""

We have listed the top 10 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.



*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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Contributing sentiments towards policy:

99% : There were some kind people in villages and towns who distributed packed food and water to the travellers.
97% : Around 10 days later, he finally reached the boundaries of his village.
95% : His family would cry each time he called.
88% : But the latest journey he undertook, after the imposition of a nationwide lockdown within a four-hour notice, is the one he will never forget.
88% : They owned no land and received no government assistance.
85% : Many young men like him, born into impoverished and landless homes in Western Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district, become pheri wallahs or travelling cloth salesman.
85% : The roads are his livelihood.
85% : The occasional hand pump or public tap would see interminable lines.
83% : Shamim had barely Rs500 in his wallet.
82% : Shamim is now 30 years old.
82% : But soon, he was faced with a new challenge.
80% : Instead, he went straight to the home of the village chowkidar, who worked with the local police.
79% : Over the past 15 years, he has spent months at a stretch away from his family and village, while touring states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Haryana to peddle his wares.
77% : He would visit his village in Shamli once in three or four months and spend a fortnight with his family, which includes his father, wife and four children.
73% : Shamim called his wife and children.
73% : The chowkidar took him to a hospital, where the compounder checked his temperature, said he was fine, and told him he could go home.
73% : He did not know how to feed his family.
72% : His children, his wife and father, wept when they saw him.
72% : His only solace was that at least he was finally home.
70% : At each state border that Shamim crossed, he found health staff pressing a gadget against his forehead to check for fever.
69% : " It was hearing their voices that encouraged him to keep walking.
68% : They had kept most of their savings with the contractor for safe-keeping.
66% : The distance from Jhalod to Shamli is 893 km.
65% : When he spoke with me, a week after his return home, he said their food stocks would last them only three or four days.
64% : Sometimes, the men slept by the roadside.
62% : They could not turn to anyone in the village, as everyone was struggling for survival.
61% : Shamim and his companions weighed their options.
60% : They had to return home at any cost.
59% : Those who set out in the days to come would meet many roadblocks, including police batons and disinfectant sprays.
55% : They had no savings and Shamim's contractor had vanished with all his earnings.
52% : Their contractors meet them from place to place, invest in the wares and take half their earnings.
51% : Pheri wallahs travel in groups of three or four, going door to door to sell a piece of cloth or ready-made garments like salwar suits, shirts and jeans.
51% : They were fortunate, as they were among the early walkers.
51% : Soon, Shamim and his companions grew weary.
50% : According to their estimate, there were 60,000 to 70,000 others on the highway.
50% : The police were not unkind.
50% : Most of the time, they just walked and walked.
47% : Days and nights merged into one another, and Shamim started losing track of time.
42% : In the morning, they went to the contractor's room only to find that he had checked out and disappeared, without a word.
41% : Since Shamim took over the profession 15 years ago, he hasn't stopped travelling.
39% : As they began the journey on foot, they saw that they were not alone.
37% : It was during their stay here when they heard prime minister Narendra Modi's announcement of the 21-day lockdown on March 24 in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19.
36% : They did not have the money to pay the room rent or buy food for 21 days.
33% : Every month, Shamim used to send a few thousand rupees home.
32% : As buses and trains had halted because of the lockdown, their only option was to walk.
32% : He did not want to infect them in case he had caught the virus.
31% : His wife had procured 25 kg wheat from the ration shop, but this was quickly exhausted.
30% : They wept in fear and confusion."Whatever happens, just come home," they urged him.
29% : Shamim too was lucky that he was able to cover some of the distance by truck.
29% : "If we have to live or die, let us at least be together.
27% : Everyone was directed to stay indoors, wherever they were, for three weeks.
27% : They did not try to stop them.
26% : "Come home," they would say.
25% : As trucks would pass, some of the travellers would hop on.
24% : They tried to call him, but he had switched his phone off.
24% : His companions had just as little money.
24% : All those who showed no symptoms were allowed to continue walking.
24% : He would call his family once or twice a day, limiting the call time to save phone battery.
23% : Shamim was barely 15 years old when he took over his father's profession.
23% : Besides, he said, there was no way he would beg for food.
21% : Through the night the four men tried to make sense of this sudden and dramatic alteration in their fortunes.
17% : In March, Shamim, three other pheri wallahs and their contractor, had hired two rooms in the district town of Jhalod in Eastern Gujarat, not far from Banswada in Rajasthan.
17% : They had little money left for food and the heat was unbearable.
14% : He called his family but said he would not come home directly to them.
4% : On a good day, he would save Rs300 ($3.94) for himself.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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